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Q&A with Hannah Clinch, POP shop director.

Hannah Clinch runs a design and research agency in Dunoon called Tacit Tacit. She also runs the POP shop, a shared work and collaboration space informed by local research into the support needs of people setting up new enterprises locally.

POP shop enterprises is a community interest company (CIC) which is dedicated to co-designing local solutions to climate change that build health and wealth in the community.

What is the POP shop about?

Fundamentally, the People Of Place shop (or POP shop for short) is a work and collaboration space. The shop provides desk space for small local and social enterprises, including Tacit Tacit and Sure Shot film, and we also co-host monthly Dunoon and Cowal Cowork meet-ups with Dunoon Community Development Trust. Our goal is to build connections and peer support in the community to help retain work and opportunities locally.

There is also a Green Mapmakers desk at the shop. This desk has been sponsored by New York-based not-for-profit Green Map System, who provide map-making tools to communities all over the world including Dunoon. The desk is available for visiting and local Green Map makers, if we can fit them in.

At the back of the shop we have a series of workshops. These are rough and ready spaces that have been used for more practical activities such as traditional skills workshops and Grow Food, Grow Dunoon used them for growing workshops. Also, we are in the process of creating a new garden at the shop for our social enterprise project called Dunoon Goes POP. The garden focsed on flavour giving plants and is been designed and made by a small team of local volunteers working with Lynne Maclagan of Papaver Gardening.

Beyond the space, we also create projects that respond to local environmental challenges. These projects set out to use the skills and interests of our members and generate work and training opportunities here in Dunoon. It’s been really exciting over the last few years to partner with other local community-driven organisations, such as the Dunoon Community Development Trust and Argyll and Bute Council’s CARS project to work out how a joined up approach to project development can support regeneration here in Dunoon and promote learning about low carbon approaches to solutions..

Who is behind the POP shop? 

It’s me who runs the day-to-day activities here. And I have a board of directors made up of local people or people with an interest in design and social innovation.  POP shop member Mike Blanco of Sure Shot Film provides technical support and gardener and writer Lynne Maclagan of Papaver Gardening provides promotional services and tends to our window boxes.

In addition, we work in collaboration with Dunoon Community Development Trust to support community engagement activities linked to the sustainable regeneration of the town.

How did the POP shop come about?

The shop came about through a few strands of research I did through my design agency Tacit Tacit, in partnership with the Dunoon Community Development Trust, formerly known as the Dunoon Area Alliance.

Through the research I learnt about the support needs of people setting up businesses in the local area, particularly women and people working freelance and around care responsibilities, was a core focus of the research. The research identified that people felt socially and professionally isolated when trying to set up businesses here in Dunoon. They also lacked vital networks that can lead to work.

With the support of the DCDT I organised a series of meet-ups and discussions about how to improve this situation. That’s where the idea for a co-work space and enterprise support tailored around the needs of our community began. This research led to the development of POP shop, a shared work and collaboration space managed by a community interest company (CIC) called POP shop enterprises CIC. 

The second strand of research was about Dunoon’s soft drink heritage and finding new ways of exploring sustainable development through heritage and making.

What about Dunoon goes POP?

Over lockdown Tacit Tacit accessed funding from an Argyll wide arts network called CHARTS to build on research around the heritage of soft drinks making in Dunoon. This was the subject of an exhibition back in 2019, which we delivered with the Castle House Museum and Dunoon CARS project. We did an exhibition in shop windows along the high street called the People Of Place: the shop keepers of Dunoon. This featured artefacts from the Castle House museum relating to Stirling’s Soft Drinks Factory, which was located just up Ferry Brae.

We explored Dunoon’s heritage as a soft drink manufacturing base and the characters from the high street and before we knew it, we were talking about heritage, food production and health. This sparked an idea, to make drinks and flavours about the ‘People of Place’ or POP. And the name just stuck.

Our long-term goal is to bring actual POP or soft drinks production back to Dunoon, but do this in a way that is enterprising and sustainable. This is a long way off, but we are taking a slow food approach to development doing bits when we can with seasonal ingredients and regular taste tests to keep the project going. We have also managed to access funding to develop a flavour garden at the back of the POP shop, that can then be used for workshops and training.


What are you trying to change?

We are trying to make it easier for people to live and work in Dunoon, particularly enterprising people to develop greener, more sustainable businesses.

Often people starting businesses are on low and unstable incomes with no one to talk to about how to progress an ideas. Also, if you have care responsibilities the juggle of work, care and living in a rural place can make career development much harder.

Dunoon has many small enterprises and an increasing number of people who work from home. As a town, we also have depressed wages and a huge reliance on tourism. There are many challenges, but developing a more robust and resilient greener economy, that is inclusive of women, is possible and it starts with connecting people to each other and to opportunities.

We want to make it easier for you to access support locally, find inspiration and feel part of a community. This is going to take time, but the shop hire and social events are a strong starting point. And we have many more ideas in the pipeline. 

What’s new at the POP shop?

Our website. It’s been in the making for a while, and it will make it easier for people to find out about hire, events and training, and find inspiration from other members. 

As I mentioned, we will also be

We are also testing out a technical support service, using the skills of our members to create a local solution to help people use technology or solve annoying problems like emails not working.

What’s your favourite POP drink?

Hands down, Rubob and Custard, a flavor inspired by the architect of Dunoon Burgh Hall and St John’s Church Robert Bryden.


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